Friday, November 6, 2015

Ensiferum : " One Man Army"

Got inspired to cover some folk metal after once again seeing this article on a study that tries to imply folk metal is racist for embracing European heritage. However if a rap group dressed up like Chaka Zulu they would be getting back to their roots. Any way this albums kicks into things as ultra speed metal mode. To be not infused with black metal they are heavier than your average viking metal band. The vocals have an angry rasp to them. The guitar solos blaze as expected and some chants join in at the chorus. So it's pretty typical of what to expect from them but with sharper teeth. "Heathen Horde" has more of a gallop, allowing the song a more powerful groove. The title track has a harder thrash attack and pretty impressive double bass in places. A more melodic folk touch is finally given to the album with the interlude "Burden of the Fallen" , and the epic sense of fantasy is carried over into "Warrior Without a War". Yelled vocals chime in from the background and the viking like chorus  comes in pretty thick to bring the epic scale you look for in this kind of thing.

"Cry For the Earth Bounds" starts off in the epic Bathory like manner you might want it to , but I found it not holding my attention on the first listen. The big multi layered choral melody on the chorus is pretty big , but doesn't punch leaving some of the instrumental bridges to be the most interesting. They hit it in a more straight ahead thrashy manner on " Two of Spades" , a weird almost poppy Men At Work type part crops up in the middle. There is a more hard rock Iron Maiden feel to "My Ancestor's Blood". The chorus is more sung than screamed with the harsher vocals commanding the verses. There is a needed shift in the guitar tone on "Descendants, Defiance , Domination" . It's picks up into the more frolicking metal three minutes in. The spoken word narration midway into this one sounds like something you might hear on the Pirates of the Carribean ride at Disney. The more Night Wish like power metal vocals come in and are followed by the harsher screams.

The album begins to take a strange western turn on " Neito Pohjolan" with female vocals crooning this out like it should be on Telemundo. They continue you wander the prairie  and cover the Rawhide theme song worked  which comes across like it comes across like Sigh and the album pretty much ends on a more western theme with a little metal tossed in on the side . So this album is like from Dusk Til Dawn which goes from a criminal road trip to surprise vampires, this goes from viking metal to cowboy metal.I'll give this a 7 as it gets the job done but I don't feel really goes above and beyond.

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